Monthly Archives

April 2012

puppies

Puppy party!

We had the FUNNEST DAY OF FUN AND NESS.

I’d love to tell you and show you more, but you know where my camera stayed the entire time? Yeah, on the kitchen counter. I was having far too good a time to even remember to grab it.

Those of you who were there snapping cell pictures, can you e-mail me any that came out? I don’t even have your babies’ eight-week portraits! Bad breeder!

I am still SUPER tired, but the upshot is that five puppies (Harold, who is now Malcolm; Despereaux, who is now Henry; Corduroy; Handsome George, who is now Winston; and Hugo) are now home with their families. Ramona leaves on Wednesday and Bianca the week after that; both are flying out. I get Monster until the beginning of May and then we’re down to just Milo.

(OK, boring breeder stuff): Sarah and Linda were derailed by an emergency c-section on Linda’s sweet Basset Marsha – thankfully, after a very harrowing time, Marsha and babies are OK – so we were down a couple of evaluators but we did our best with show/pet stuff. Monster was the unanimous pick, which I knew at least a week ago (that dog is SO PRETTY), but I was thankful that Milo wasn’t down at the bottom of the group. As expected, we had some really, really lovely long upper arms in this group – Monster has an upper arm that’s as long as some adults’ – and fronts on all nine are very pretty (which is a huge thing). Ribbing shape is better than I’ve had consistently before, and we were very happy with toplines and croups/tails across the board. Bone and feet were another strength. Heads were all very pleasant, and I am keeping the one who is furthest away from the head faults I have now in my dogs (I tend to keep really short, sharp heads, and need more width across the foreface and cushioning in the muzzle, which is why Milo’s little saint bernard-y face is going to be so good for me). The faults in the litter were as expected, nothing that was worrying soundness-wise, which was great, and I was glad to be told that I was seeing the faults correctly and analyzing puppies right. Now we wait for movement to settle in (they’re such babies still that it’s hard to tell) and for rears to appear. On the whole I am thrilled with this litter and am so grateful to everyone who made it happen.

Back to fun: The puppies loved the crowd. I didn’t see even a moment’s hesitation and they did all their funny tricks and played all their funny games and looked around for the applause. And oh my heavens, you should have SEEN how happy Daisy Poppy was. It was like a light turned on inside her when the twentieth person came in the door. She was the undisputed queen of the day and she knew it. She was fawned over for hours and hours and she just climbed from lap to lap. What a completely precious dog she is.

Also precious: Sammy and Godric, who were the only other of our dogs that I let be loose (since we had so many visitor dogs I didn’t want to overwhelm people with my Cardigans), and thought that God had sent them a vat full of presents. They are both completely stuffed with cheese and I think I saw Sammy holding her down and washing Monster’s mom’s face.

Now that things are quiet, the four remaining have responded the way they often do to half or more leaving, by getting super excited and playing like maniacs. I keep hearing them crash into things. They’ve also realized that noise gets results, so Ramona (who was the loudest, bounciest, and most insistent of them all at the party) has spent the entire evening looking at me going “Raawwr? Mmmm? Roo. ROOR. MMMMRRRRR.”

If people send me pics I’ll post them – otherwise look for 8.5-week portraits of the four remaining if I can get them tomorrow, and please send hugs and kisses and good thoughts to those babies who are having their first nights away from home.

puppies

Puppies who are not mine, and puppies who are.

I don’t know if all breeders feel this way, but from pretty early on I know which puppies aren’t mine. It’s one of the (many) reasons I will never be a good show breeder, because I pick up puppies and say “You are the best in the litter. And you don’t belong to me.”

I just ADORE these puppies that are in my house right now. They’re the sweetest babies I’ve ever had. And as much as I will always love them, I know they’re not mine.

Clue is mine. She came off the plane from Arkansas as the kids’ puppy, and by the time we got home in the car she was absolutely mine. I have always worked overnights from home, and Clue’s growing-up years were spent on my feet as I typed. That was always her spot, until she got so mature that she switched to the couch in order to lord it over everyone.

My feet were cold for a while there, until Friday realized that I stayed up late. Friday is really Doug’s dog, always has been, but she’s a gossipy girl and she will curl up under my heels to talk to me at night. But it’s spring now, which means she’s got duties elsewhere involving all the farm-type jobs she’s given herself. She thinks she needs to watch the chickens sleep at night.

Juno can’t be bothered with feet or blankets or anything not involving a ball or something to chew or something to herd. She’s never been cuddly. Even asleep, she concentrates so hard she vibrates as she breathes.

Daisy Poppy is a bed dog. She’s got no use for me when she can be luxuriantly stretched out on a space-age mattress against a kid.

So here I am, with chilly toes. Until this evening when I went to check on puppies one last time and Milo would not leave me alone. Everywhere I walked, he walked next to me and would plant himself in front of me and stare at me. Finally I got the hint and brought him in the bedroom.

He spent many minutes sniffing all around everywhere, at all the dog beds and blankets, at the bed itself, he went over to give his mom a kiss… and then he left her and came over and flopped himself on my feet. When I move, he yawns and then pushes himself further onto me. My dog.

My extremely hairy dog.

Dog Health

New England Owners: Time for Lyme (testing, that is)

I hate to say it, but it’s going to be a VERY bad year for any tick-borne diseases and for heartworm. Because of our extraordinarily mild winter, the ticks were active all winter and we didn’t get a hard mosquito kill either. Snowless winters are also very bad for squirrels and other small furries, because they don’t have the snow cover they need to hide, and many have died. Compounding those problems, last year was a bust year for acorns, so a lot of mice and squirrels starved to death last fall. All of those factors mean the ticks have not had a blood meal in months, are going to be traveling further to find it, and they are in greater numbers than they’ve been in years.

I’ve already heard of one of our puppies from last year with a positive Lyme test. I am also sorry to say that (for the first time in my entire breeding life) I am not going to be surprised if one of your dogs comes back positive for heartworm. Sarah says they’ve already seen three positives this spring and it’s going to get worse.

PLEASE REQUEST the SNAP 4DX test! A negative for Lyme does not equal a negative for anaplasmosis or ehrlichia, which can be even worse.

If your puppy comes up positive for a tick-borne disease, a month of doxycyline should set him or her right. Please let me know, but don’t panic. If your puppy comes up positive for heartworm, contact me RIGHT AWAY. There are newer, safer, gentler protocols than the old immiticide (which many vets don’t have on hand anymore anyway, because it’s been short-shipping for months now) and I’d want your baby on those rather than the very harsh treatment. I’ll be happy to advocate for you with your vet if he or she doesn’t want to use the newer dosing.

This concludes your scary health alert of April – back to regularly scheduled puppy love :).

puppies

The Daisy Poppy puppies are seven weeks old and impossible to get pictures of! So this is a short roundup of babies and destinations.

Milo – Staying here (yay!). Tri with very ashy points, long coated (like you couldn’t tell!)

Handsome George (now Winston): Local pet home. Tri with beautiful tan points, short coated.

Bianca: Going to be a Cali girl, which is good because she’s a beach princess if ever I met one. Black and white (tri with brindle points), coated.

Ramona: Going to Texas to be an agility star. Dark brindle, question mark on coat (I think she’s genetically short but is going to be glamorous, but she’s got some matte coat on her sides that may turn into longer furnishings).

Ramona again, practicing being aerodynamic.

Despereaux, now Henry: Wonderful local home. Black and white, coated (and wavy!).

Corduroy: Going to be a little girl’s best friend. Dark brindle, puffy right now but not excessive, and after getting longish it’s settling back down now – question mark on coat.

Harold: Sticking around for a couple of months because his family is house-hunting, so you’ll get to see updates for a while yet. Wonderful local family. Either extremely dark brindle or black and white, short-coated.

Hugo: Wonderful local family home. Brown brindle, short coated.

Monster. Great local home, but he gets to stick around another couple of weeks while his family has other obligations so you’ll get to see him a bit more. Red brindle, short coated.

So if you’ve been keeping track, that’s 4 definite short-coated, 3 definite long-coated, 2 question marks; 4 tris, 4 brindles, 1 Harold (seriously, I have looked him over in the sunlight about a dozen times and I can’t see a real red stripe anywhere, so beats me – as I told his owners, he’s always going to look black and white, whatever he turns out to be). Two babies leaving the nest and seven staying close. And nine amazingly wonderful people-oriented puppies of gorgeousness.

puppies

Update – Quincey! (who was Quince, Juno-Shade fluffy black boy)

From Megan, his owner:

“I know you have been getting some updates from Facebook but I saw that owners of Quincey’s siblings were looking for updates and figured I would put together a formal update and add in the stacked photo I am supposed to send you every 6 months.  I finally figured out how to get a decent confo photo by putting him on a low landscaping wall, putting some toys down a few feet away, and letting him stack himself when he reaches them. He gets along well with our cat and gets along really well with the dogs we share the yard with.  He passed obedience level 1 and now knows a wide variety of commands that he may actually do most of the time.

Saturdays he goes to the beach generally where he does not like to swim in the waves but happily plays with other dogs, digs in the sand, and splashes in any puddles he can find while following along as we hike along the beach.  Thankfully the sand does not really stick to his coat so most of it falls off by the time we get to the car.

Sundays we found a corgi play group that has around 10-20 corgi’s at a local dog park.  There is a Pembroke fluff there that is only 2 weeks younger than him and is about the same size (I saw her dad and he is HUGE although maybe the bigger size is popular as he did show at Westminster this year) and the two of them have a lot of fun playing when they are not part of the corgi pack trying to chase down any non corgi’s that come in.  This is where the muddy pictures come from as the footing is bark chips but he always manages to dig under them around where the waterer is and then has a dirt/mud party.

And then one morning a week he and I go to herding class.  I found a trainer who has worked with corgi’s in the past and has had a pembroke finish his herding championship.  The trainer there really likes how he is put together and said that he moves really well and is good at extending his stride out which the trainer said some of the Cardi’s he sees either can’t or won’t.  He has encouraged us to trial him when he gets older as he says it would be a shame not too.  So if Quincey continues to think herding is amazingly fun he can hopefully get some letters at the end of his name.   We are keeping Quincey’s runs very short to about two, 5 minute long runs and keeping the concepts very basic while working in a small paddock with a few trees.  He will naturally gather the sheep and bring them over to me but is very excited about the whole thing and works too fast so we are working along the fenceline to help give a natural set of brakes.  The last lesson we were very successful in getting him to slow down a bit and then magically he was in control of the sheep and got the flock through the HT course.  Since he is still young though the main point is to always make sure he enjoys the work and he comes out of the lessons acting like he is in charge of the world.

As he matures he is becoming less of a cuddly puppy and more of a confident, outgoing dog.  He wants to be near you all the time and loves being petted still but now he will position himself so he can keep an eye on the rest of the world at the same time.  On walks he will stand between me and anything suspicious until I say it’s ok. (Or if it is a person until they say anything involving the word cute and then he is falling all over himself to be petted and sitting on their feet.)  He is amazingly friendly and people love him wherever we go.  I thank you again for doing such a good job at picking his parents and for doing an amazing job at socializing him.  He has been an incredibly easy puppy to raise and we could not love him more.”

From Joanna: First, for everyone – this is EXACTLY what I am asking for when I say stacked eye-level pictures. I don’t expect them in show leads or anything, but I can see so much of his condition and conformation from this – and can tell that his feet are looking good, nails are short, weight looks good, coat is wonderful – all of the things that give me invaluable clues about health.

For Megan – he’s gorgeous. Seriously. He looks a ton like his mom in the face, but he’s got better bone and better feet and his dad’s longer body and lovely rear angles. I am SO pleased to know that he stayed beautifully proportional; you may remember that we put him in a pet home because he was so short-legged and we worried he would get lower than we wanted. But that hasn’t happened, and that lets me make better decisions the next time I’m facing the same choice.

Also, he makes the fifth (?) of his siblings to be tested and showed to be herding talented. That makes me SO DANG PROUD as a breeder I could just burst. Seriously. Hearing that a puppy of mine should be trialed is like handing me a best in show ribbon. I am so incredibly thankful to you for doing such a great job with him and for being such a fantastic, perfect home.

To Quince: Ickle baby woodoo smoochie!

puppies

Hey, look who it is!

Moth!

Every time I look at our little Ramona in this current litter, I see Moth. They are going to have the same face, and same naughty-brilliant expression.

We got to have Moth for a couple of weeks earlier this winter, and she is exactly as funny and smart as she looks. But the last time I saw her she was a lot more of a baby – this set of pictures surprised me too! She really grew some ears since she was here, wow. Thanks, Dave – she looks amazing.

Mystery puppies, puppies

Call-out for a global Clue/Juno puppy update!

Corra (who was Hedwig)’s mom asked for a big roundup update on the previous puppies, and I think it’s about that time!

I know many of you have sent me updates personally, but I always hate to post your stuff without permission. So if you would like the big crowd of people who adored them as puppies to see how your baby (or grown dog) is doing, please leave it in the comments!

I’ll start off with Corra – isn’t she gorgeous?

And here’s Irie (Peaseblossom):

So how is your big girl or boy doing? Everyone’s dying to know 🙂

puppies

The Daisy Poppy babies are six weeks old!

And I stink and haven’t posted pictures! I threw some that I took today in a gallery below, but I sort of hope you don’t look at them. They are completely wumpus because I didn’t even start taking them until it was five o’clock and we were losing the light. The puppies had been with people for three hours, they were wet from their weekly bath, they were sleepy and had no desire to give faces, and I was falling-over tired and could barely focus the camera. So take them for what they’re worth, but they’re not my best or even my middling-worst work. Blech.

My excuse is that we have puppy people or other visitors over almost every day now, and so the good light in the afternoons is almost always gone by the time I have a second to catch my breath. That’s a GOOD thing, because these babies have become total social butterflies and they adore everyone who comes through the door. We’ve also been getting them outside solo, to see how they’re starting to react to people one on one. Some go adventuring and a-sniffing, some strike out on their own and look behind themselves to say “Are you coming with me? It’s FUN!” and some put themselves into heel position and put a paw on your foot and ask where you’d like to go.

We got them out on their six-week birthday, Thursday, which was raw and wet and nasty, and the only puppy who liked it was Milo. Because he rocks. Everybody else (and I did take pictures of everyone, because I know you all will come after me with large rocks and sharp objects if I don’t do an update) looked miserable and like they were sucking in their cheeks and moaning. So you will not get those pictures. Milo just walked over and jumped into my lap and then chewed on me thoughtfully while he got rained on.

If you haven’t yet figured it out, barring a serious conformation flaw showing up in the next two weeks, he’s the one who is most likely staying. My kids are in active and serious rebellion over the fact that we can’t keep two – they are all in love with Ramona – but it’s becoming more and more obvious that Ramona is a performance puppy. And I don’t mean code for “pet,” I mean I can’t keep her busy enough and her brain is prodigious. I think she’d hate the show ring, and I’ve got Juno who is my first priority for serious work if we ever have enough money to do more than play with her. It wouldn’t be fair to add another working puppy to the end of the line.

I don’t think Milo is the best puppy – evals at eight weeks will tell the tale, but I suspect Monster is the pick boy and Handsome George a close second or maybe will flip into first by the time they’re eight weeks. But I think Milo is the boy who has what I need – he’s the right color, that breathtaking head, beautiful front, lots of bone but he’s not going to be large or heavy. And he loves me. I mean REALLY loves me. The rest of the puppies love me in a congenial “I know you; you’re Food!” way; they seem to love their new families as much if not more than us at this point. But Milo turns on and sparkles for me, he follows me around, he’s the puppy in natural heel position. And I love him right back. Since our dogs are not kenneled, having a happy relationship is very important for all of us.

So I guess that’s our news for the week. Otherwise the puppies are thriving and glowing and I am so happy with them I could burst. In very sad news, we had a terrible tragedy three days ago, when Sleepy Chicken, fooled by the fact that all the other dogs love her, walked through the baby gate that keeps them safe and into Bramble’s jaws. The murder was quick and thorough. So Saturday was spent with chicken breeders, desperately looking for a young hen to fill Sleepy Chicken’s place in Honour’s arms.

I think we found her – I told Honour that she had to actually name this chicken, because we always end up calling them something goofy like Shavings Eye because they don’t have names and some crisis happens (like a shaving gets in a tiny chick eye) and then I ask her how the Shavings Eye chick is doing and then we’re sunk. Sweet little Sticky Feet is a prime example. Thankfully we’ve managed to avoid Poopy Butt until now, but I don’t think we can do it forever.

Well, never ask a kid with OCD to name a chicken on short notice. She just looked around the aisle where we were standing in Tractor Supply (where we had gone to buy chicken treats for her) and named her after stuff that was next to us. So please say a warm hello to our new baby hen, who came home, got a hot bath (which she LOVED), was properly pampered and medicated and wormed and treated, and took her place in the puppy photo shoot with complete calm. Her name is Strawberry Lawnmower.